Abdi Nageeye (32) made his marathon debut in 2015 with a national title  (9th overall, 2.12.33) in Rotterdam. Two years later he was the first Dutchman to break the magical 2.10.00 barrier (2.09.36) on the Coolsingel. And in 2019 he lowered his own national record by nearly two minutes, from 2.08.16 to 2.06.17 (4th).

Bashir Abdi (32) also made his marathon debut in Rotterdam, taking eighth in 2018 despite an early fall (2.10.46). On 24 October 2021 the “Bronze Belgian” became the hero of the event by celebrating the 40th anniversary of the NN Marathon Rotterdam with a course, Belgian and European record of 2.03.36: the fastest-ever time run in the Netherlands.

After his thrilling triumph Bashir Abdi gratefully kissed the Coolsingel tarmac and expressed his desire to return to the city alongside his training partner Nageeye. “If we can run together on this fast course, we can go even faster,” he predicted after his NN Marathon Rotterdam win. “For me this is the number one marathon and that also applies to my friend Nageeye.’’

Remco Barbier, who succeeds Mario Kadiks as the NN Marathon Rotterdam director, said: “We are very happy and proud that these two stars and crowd favourites will be on the start line on April 10 in Rotterdam. There are still four months to go until the marathon, but there’s a lot to look forward to already. That applies to Abdi Nageeye and Bashir Abdi, but also to the tens of thousands of runners who are going to prepare for the marathon in the new year. Signing up for the various distances is still possible.’’